JURIST Legal News

JURIST's legal news service, powered by a team of over 40 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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[JURIST] The Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] on Thursday held a new round of hearings on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch [Politico profile] to the Supreme Court. Thursday's hearings involved testimony from 28 outside witnesses [Committee agenda]. This list included retired judges from the US Courts of Appeal, law professors at top universities, leaders of advocacy groups and several of his former law clerks. These witnesses testified both for and against Gorsuch. Also on Thursday, three leading Democrats - Senate...
[JURIST] The US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) [official website] on Thursday released a report [text, PDF] finding that a significant portion of federal law enforcement resources were directed to immigration-related offenses. The analysis showed that half of all federal arrests in 2014 [summary, PDF] were related to immigration, with 61 percent of them occurring in five districts along US-Mexico border. BJS also found that 17 percent of offenders released in 2012 went back to federal prison within three years,...
The Court of Appeal for Ontario [official website] on Wednesday affirmed [decision] a ruling requiring a Vice Media [official website] reporter to turn over materials and communications used to write three stories regarding an accused terrorist in 2014. Ben Makuch communicated with and wrote three published stories regarding Farah Shirdon, who was believed to have moved to the Middle East in March 2014 to join the Islamic State (IS) [JURIST archives]. Shirdon confirmed this and threatened attacks on Canada in...
The Scottish parliament on Thursday rescheduled [official report] a vote on a new independence referendum for next week following Wednesday's terror attack [press release] at the United Kingdom parliament in London. The proposed referendum was under debate when the attack occurred, and Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh [official profile] chose to halt the proceedings [official report] after receiving news [BBC timeline] of a "serious incident at Westminster" and an increase in security at Holyrood. The debate is to take place only...
Members of the US House Oversight Committee questioned FBI [official websites] officials Wednesday on facial recognition technology during a hearing [materials]. The criticism was based on a report [resources] that 117 million Americans can be found on the governmental facial recognition database. Members expressed concern over how the technology would be implemented to affect American lives. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) [official website] expressed concern about how the technology was less effective with African American faces and that, "If you are...
A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana [website] blocked [opinion, PDF] a law [text, PDF] Wednesday that would prevent foreign-born US citizens from marrying. The legislation at issue required a birth certificate to obtain a marriage license. The law had barred [AP report] 32-year-old Viet Anh Vo from marrying his fiancee in 2016. Vo was thee months old when he came to the US after being born in a refugee camp in Indonesia. Both...
A New York judge on Wednesday ordered ExxonMobil [corporate website] to cooperate with a New York investigation into whether the company misled others about the effects of climate change. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman [official profile] had issued previous subpoenas to both ExxonMobil and their outside auditing servicers, and a New York state court in October 2016 ordered [text, PDF] compliance. However, Schneiderman submitted a letter [text, PDF] to the court earlier this month stating that ExxonMobil "has failed...
[JURIST] The UK Supreme Court [official website] ruled [judgment, PDF] on Wednesday that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) [official website] did not misidentify former JPMorgan official Achilles Macris in its penalty notice in connection with the "London Whale" Scandal. The FCA agreed that a conclusion that Macris was prejudiced would be justified if Macris was in fact identified in the warning and the penalty notices were served on JPMorgan. However, the FCA rejected the claim that Macris was identified. Lord...
Kentucky's HB 2 [text, PDF], which requires doctors to perform an ultrasound before an abortion, faced its first legal challenge [text, PDF] in federal court Thursday. HB 2 requires doctors to perform an ultrasound and show their patients pictures, explaining the images in detail. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website], argue that it is unconstitutional pursuant to 42 USC § 1983 [text, PDF]. The ACLU argues that forcing women to sit through this process...
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile] presented his report on Sri Lanka [press release] to the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, stating that much work remains to make Sri Lanka's judiciary conform with international expectations. Furthermore, many expressed concerns about Sri Lanka's anti-terrorism act, which grants extraordinary police powers leading to allegations of torture, overcrowded prisons, and general due process violations. Sri Lanka officials present at the meeting reaffirmed their nation's commitments to...
[JURIST] Former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, was sentenced [decision, PDF] on Wednesday by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to an additional year in prison and fined approximately $325,000 for interfering with his own trial in March of 2016. In 2016 Bemba was charged [decision, PDF] with bribing witnesses and falsifying evidence after the court discovered Bemba conducted a bribery scheme from his prison cell. Four members of his legal team...
The US Department of Justice [official website] petitioned [text, PDF] Wednesday to have the travel ban executive order [text] by President Donald Trump [official profile] reviewed more quickly. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions [official profile]commented [text] on the proceedings earlier this month, saying "[t]his executive order provides a needed pause, so we can carefully review how we scrutinize people coming here from these countries of concern" and further stating, "[t]his Department of Justice will defend and enforce lawful orders of...
The US Department of Justice [official website] petitioned Wednesday to have the travel ban executive order [text] by President Donald Trump [official profile] reviewed more quickly, according to a Wall Street Journal report [text]. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions [official profile]commented [text] on the proceedings earlier this month, saying "[t]his executive order provides a needed pause, so we can carefully review how we scrutinize people coming here from these countries of concern" and further stating, "[t]his Department of Justice will...
The US Senate voted [roll call] Tuesday to approve House Joint Resolution 69 [text], a bill to invalidate an August 2016 regulation [text] protecting wildlife on federal lands from certain kinds of hunting. The "Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska" rule limited the hunting of predators including aerial hunting and killing animals in their dens in the National Wildlife Refuges of Alaska [list of refuges]. The bill that seeks to...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday heard arguments in County of Los Angeles v. Mendez and Water Splash, Inc. v. Menon [SCOTUSblog backgrounders]. In County of Los Angeles [transcript, PDF], the court was asked to rule on a Fourth Amendment [text] civil rights action filed by two victims of a police shooting. Two Los Angeles County sheriffs entered Angel Mendez's home without a warrant, found by [opinion, PDF] the trial court and Ninth Circuit to be a...
[JURIST] Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch [Politico profile] on Wednesday concluded testifying in his confirmation hearing [materials] before the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website]. Gorsuch largely avoided giving direct answers on many policy questions, likening it to campaign promises to which he does not want to be held. Democrats used the hearing to criticize the Senate's failure to consider former president Barack Obama's nominee for the seat Merrick Garland [JURIST report]. With 52 Republican senators likely voting in Gorsuch's favor,...
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson [official website] on Wednesday signed into law [video] a bill allowing individuals over the age of 21 to get enhanced concealed carry permits [HB 1249 materials]. Individuals who have concealed carry permits may apply for the enhanced permit and, after eight hours of additional training, may carry the concealed weapons at public colleges, airports, polling places, sporting events, some state offices and the state capitol. Under HB.1249/Act 562 concealed weapons are still forbidden in courtrooms, K-12...
The US Supreme Court unanimously vacated and remanded [opinion, PDF] a lower decision [opinion, PDF] regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) [text, PDF] on Wednesday. The court ruled that to meet IDEA standards, a school must offer an "individualized education program" that is tailored to each child's needs, finding that students with disabilities must have the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress. Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District [SCOTUSblog materials] questioned whether a minimum standard was...
A second federal judge has signed off on a revised settlement [settlement, PDF] in a suit that had accused the New York City Police [official website] of illegally surveilling Muslim communities in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. Judges Chen and Haight were the judges for href="https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/raza-v-city-new-york-complaint">Raza v. City of New York [complaint] and Handschu v. Special Services Division [case materials], and both had to sign off on the revised settlement before it could take effect. The finalized settlement...
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] has upheld [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling allowing a Texas school board to open their meetings with a student-led public prayer. By affirming the lower court ruling, the Fifth Circuit held [Fox News report] Monday that the prayers are not unconstitutional as government-established religion. The case is a result of a lawsuit by the American Humanist Association [advocacy website] and a graduate of Birdville High School, the school...

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